In 1970, three years before Roe vs. Wade knocked down all laws against abortion in the United States, California had already legalized abortion. Sarah’s mother, Betty, had an abortion in Los Angeles. Neither she nor the abortionist realized she was carrying twins. As a result, one of the twins–Sarah–survived the abortion.
“Somehow, miraculously, I survived!” says Sarah. “My twin brother wasn’t so lucky. Andrew was aborted and we lost him forever. Several weeks later, my mother was shocked to feel me kicking in her womb. She already had five children and she knew what it felt like when a baby kicked in the womb. She instantly knew that somehow she was still pregnant.” Sarah’s mother went back to the doctor and told him she was still pregnant, that she had made a big mistake and that she wanted to keep this baby.
“To this day, my mother deeply regrets that abortion,” says Sarah. “I know the pain is unbearable for her at times when she looks at me and knows she aborted my twin brother. Mom says the protective hand of Almighty God saved my life, that God’s hand covered and hid me in her womb, and protected me from the scalpel of death.”
Sarah survived the abortion, but was born with bilateral, congenital dislocated hips and many other physical handicaps. Nine days after her birth she was taken to an orthopedic surgeon who applied a cast to each of her tiny legs. “My mom would remove these casts with pliers every Monday morning and take me to the doctor to have new casts put on,” she recounts. “At six weeks I was put into my first body cast. Many surgeries and body casts followed over the next few years.”
Sarah’s life has been painful in many ways, and her future holds more painful surgeries for her. Yet Sarah says she continually thanks God she survived the abortion. But the pain is not hers alone and not merely physical. The emotional pain continues, she says, for everyone in her family. “In memory of my brother Andrew, we bought a memorial gravestone and placed it in a cemetery in Southern California. It reads: Andrew James Smith, Twin Brother of Sarah – in our hearts you’ll always be alive – November 1970.”
On April 24, 1996, Sarah Smith delivered a powerful address at the international “Congress for Life” in Rome, organized by the Legionaries of Christ to celebrate the first anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae – The Gospel of Life. Sarah told the conference how she came to discover the dreadful secret that she had somehow intuitively felt:
“I did not know of the abortion until I was 12 years old. I grew up feeling that I was the same as my friends, except for having numerous surgeries and physical complications. The only difference I felt was an incredible loneliness and a knowledge that something was missing. I never felt whole.
“I battled with severe depression and found myself dying of anorexia nervosa at age 12, when my mother knew it was time to tell me the truth. She sat next to me and took my hand and looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Sarah, you are a twin. I aborted your twin brother and tried to abort you. Please know I did not know what I was doing and I pray someday you are able to forgive me. I love you and need you to know that you are a welcome part of our family.’
“At that moment I knew what I had been missing all my life and that I was called to something much greater than I had knowledge of. Immediately I felt the overwhelming pain of the knowledge that I should be dead.
“As I stand before you today,” Sarah told her Rome audience, “I am painfully aware that this is only possible because my twin brother took a scalpel for me, and I stand in his place and memory, giving him honor and a face. Statistics are coldly impersonal and cannot convey the human tragedy of the abortion slaughter. Thirty-two million babies [have been] killed in the United States alone. Yet every one had a face, a life, a Creator who loved them and created them in His image. As you look at me today, you realize that I am no different than you, yet I stand before you today a representative of the dead – a representative of the innocent lives who today may lose their lives. Who will speak for them?”